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Violent vandals close tip

A PUBLIC tip has been closed after young vandals hurled bricks at cars of people queuing to dump their rubbish.

The household waste and recycling centre at Sundridge Hill, Cuxton, will be shut for the foreseeable future.

Residents complained of vandalism and abuse from children from a nearby travellers' camp.

David Gibbons, who lives in Larkfield, said: "I drove in to dispose of a carload of rubbish only to find myself sitting in a long queue of traffic, all because of anti-social behaviour by juveniles.

"People were arriving from all over the place only to be greeted by verbal abuse and violence. It is an absolute disgrace.

"It's outrageous that people be held to ransom in this way by children."

A Medway Council spokesperson said: "The household waste and recycling centre at Cuxton was closed yesterday afternoon (Tue) for safety reasons.

"The site will be closed for the foreseeable future until the council thinks it is safe to re-open it to the public.

"Travellers are camped nearby on land which is not owned by the council.

The council apologises for any inconvenience caused by the closure."

The remaining two household waste sites at Shawstead Road, Capstone, and Hoath Way, Gillingham, are open for business as usual.

A spokeswoman from Medway Police said: "Police did attend the household waste and recycling centre at Cuxton yesterday afternoon.

"Travellers were encamped just outside the site at Sundridge Hill.

"The police did not witness any violence but the travellers were taking clothes from the recycling bins."

This is by no means the first time that areas of Medway have been plagued by travellers.

Over the past few years there has been growing public concern at illegally-parked caravans and travellers' anti-social behaviour. Residents have complained about noise, bad language and piles of rubbish left behind.

In January this year, travellers returned to land in Anthony's Way, Frindsbury, just six weeks after a previous group had been evicted.

New powers granted to Medway Council last year offered a fast-track way of removing unwanted visitors from 10 public areas in Medway.

The court orders were made on The Strand, Jubilee Field, Castlemaine Avenue and Beechings Cross, Gillingham; Salt Lane, Cliffe; Sycamore Road, Luton Recreation Ground and North Dane Way, Chatham; Horse Wash Lane and Acorn Wharf Road, Rochester; and the Riverside and Capstone Country Parks.

Last year, it cost Medway taxpayers between £70,000 and £100,000 to take court action against and to clean up after travellers.

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